"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life"

Father God, thank you for the love of the truth you have given me. Please bless me with the wisdom, knowledge and discernment needed to always present the truth in an attitude of grace and love. Use this blog and Northwoods Ministries for your glory. Help us all to read and to study Your Word without preconceived notions, but rather, let scripture interpret scripture in the presence of the Holy Spirit. All praise to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Please note: All my writings and comments appear in bold italics in this colour

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Spain Invaded by the Moors Again

500 migrants storm fence at Moroccan/Spanish border
By Eric DuVall 

Dozens of migrants celebrate after they managed to cross and jump the fences separating Morocco from the Spanish enclave Ceuta on the African continent. Some 500 migrants made the crossing, though most were detained. Photo by Reduan/EPA

(UPI) -- Nearly 500 migrants smashed through a fence separating Morocco from the Spanish enclave Ceuta in an attempt to gain access to the European continent.

Ceuta regional government officials said 498 people, some wielding clubs, attempted to break through multiple gates in the 20-foot fence. An estimated 200 people were prevented from crossing and dozens of the migrants required medical treatment after trying to scale the fence, which is topped with razor wire. Eleven Spanish police officers were also injured during the incident.

Many of those who successfully broke through the barrier celebrated on Spanish land, draped in European flags while shouting "freedom."

Most of those detained on Spanish soil are taken to a detention center, ITV reported. From there they are either repatriated or formally seek asylum as political refugees.

Ceuta is one of two Spanish enclaves on the African continent. It is separated from mainland Spain by the Strait of Gibraltar. The areas are the only parts of the Eurozone that share a land border with Africa, making them popular spots for migrants seeking entry into Europe to attempt a border crossing.

The last attempted mass border crossing at Ceuta came on New Year's Day, and included 1,100 migrants.

CEUTA, Spain, Jan. 1 (UPI) -- Five Spanish policemen and 50 Moroccan security force members were injured when more than 1,100 migrants attempted to rush the border fence separating Morocco from Spain's Ceuta enclave.

"[Migrants tried] to force open some of the doors in the external fence, using iron bars, wire cutters and large stones with which they assaulted Moroccan forces and [Spanish] Guardia Civil [police] agents," officials with a central government office in Ceuta said in a released statement.

Officials said the attempt to cross the border was well organized and violent in nature. The rush began in the early hours of New Year's Day morning. Hundreds successfully scaled the first of two barbed wire fences, and some attempted to breach doors in the second fence using wire cutters.

Only two men successfully made it over both fences, but both were badly injured and taken to the hospital for treatment. The rest were returned to Morocco. Many men sat straddling the top of the first fence for several hours before being lifted down by cranes.

The Spanish enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta are the only two land borders connecting North Africa to Europe. African immigrants have long sought to make their way past the newly reinforced fences and apply for asylum and resettlement in Europe. Few are successful. Human rights groups have criticized Spain in the past for returning migrants without offering them the chance to apply for asylum.


Friday, February 17, 2017

Canadians from Iran and Pakistan Rally Against the “Islamophobia” Law

BY ROBERT SPENCER 

video 4:08

The supporters of the Canadian bill condemning “Islamophobia” insist that it will not restrict the freedom of speech, but interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose was more realistic: she said that she was concerned that charges of “Islamophobia” would be used “to intimidate rather than to inform,” and added: “I do worry that some of my work trying to empower women and girls in Muslim communities could be branded as ‘Islamophobic’ if I criticize practices that I believe are oppressive.”

Of course she is absolutely right. That is exactly what happened to Pamela Geller and me when we held a conference about honor killing. The interviewees in the video above come from Iran and Pakistan and are against the bill because they know what it leads to. As one of them said, “I know how it starts.” This is how.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

‘Are We Alone in the Universe?’ Churchill’s Lost Essay on Alien Life Uncovered

This is a pretty courageous thing for a world leader to write at a time
when talk of extraterrestrial life would bring much mirth and criticism.
But then, Churchill was never afraid of controversy.

Winston Churchill © Pigiste / AFP

A newly discovered piece written by Winston Churchill, as the world stood on the brink of World War II, reveals the former British Prime Minister turned his thoughts to the possibility of alien life.

The eleven-page essay entitled ‘Are we alone in the universe’ was drafted on the eve of World War II in 1939 and updated in the '50s but remained undiscovered in the US National Churchill Museum archives until recently.

Britain's wartime leader, who won a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953 and was also a proponent of science, reflected in the article on the likelihood of extraterrestrial life, with unusual foresight.

He discussed the possible existence of exoplanets decades before they were discovered, and predicted humans would travel to the moon and Mars.

The timely, rediscovered article, which is believed to have been intended for publication in London's News of the World, was found by Timothy Riley, Director of the US National Churchill Museum and shared with astrophysicist Mario Livio for expert analysis.

“At a time when a number of today's politicians shun science, I find it moving to recall a leader who engaged with it so profoundly,” Livio wrote in the journal Nature, describing Churchill’s reasoning as nuanced and comparable with modern arguments in astrobiology.

Churchill’s open-minded theories on the search for extraterrestrial life pre-empted later astronomical discoveries including habitable zones and exoplanets.

“I, for one, am not so immensely impressed by the success we are making of our civilization here that I am prepared to think we are the only spot in this immense universe which contains living, thinking creatures, or that we are the highest type of mental and physical development which has ever appeared in the vast compass of space and time,” Churchill wrote in the piece.

Churchill thought in-depth about ‘habitable zones’ before it became a recognizable term, musing that life could only survive “between a few degrees of frost and the boiling point of water.”

He also considered the ability of a planet to retain its atmosphere, explaining that the hotter a gas is, the faster its molecules are moving and the more easily they can escape.

Taking these factors into account, the British statesman concluded that Mars and Venus are the only places in the Solar System other than Earth that could harbor life.

“One day, possibly even in the not very distant future, it may be possible to travel to the moon, or even to Venus or Mars,” he wrote.

It’s interesting to bear in mind that Churchill began the essay shortly after Orson Welles dramatization of HG Wells' The War of the Worlds was broadcast on US radio prompting ‘Mars fever’ in the media.

Churchill also weighed up the idea that other stars host planets reasoning “the sun is merely one star in our galaxy, which contains several thousand millions of others”. He considered a now ruled out theory put forward by astrophysicist James Jeans in 1917 that planets are formed from the gas that is torn off a star when another star passes close to it.

“But this speculation depends upon the hypothesis that planets were formed in this way. Perhaps they were not. We know there are millions of double stars, and if they could be formed, why not planetary systems?”

“I am not sufficiently conceited to think that my sun is the only one with a family of planets.”

He concluded a large number of extrasolar planets “will be the right size to keep on their surface water and possibly an atmosphere of some sort” and some will be “at the proper distance from their parent sun to maintain a suitable temperature,” decades before thousands of exoplanets were discovered in the 1990s.

“With hundreds of thousands of nebulae, each containing thousands of millions of Suns, the odds are enormous that there must be immense numbers which possess planets whose circumstances would not render life impossible,” Churchill finishes the essay.

Livio noted that Churchill contemplated scientific questions in the context of human values and that his essay was a testament to the importance he put on science and technology for societal development.

Churchill entered Parliament as an MP in 1901

Monday, February 13, 2017

NGO: U.S. Lost Track of 3/4 of a Million Guns in Afghanistan, Iraq

I am convinced that if Americans didn't sell guns, either legally or on the black market, or give them to others to sell on the black market, for two consecutive days, that their entire economy would collapse.
How many Americans and American allies have died or been
wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan by weapons made in the USA?
Does anybody know? Does anybody care?

Ceerwan Aziz-Pool/Getty Images
by EDWIN MORA

The Pentagon has lost track of at least 750,000 guns it provided to security forces in Afghanistan and Iraq during 14 years of the ongoing war on terror in response to the 9/11 attacks, according to a tally by Action on Armed Violence (AOAV), a London-based charity.

The lost weapons could be fueling the black market, reports The New York Times (NYT).


NYT explains:

With a string of Freedom of Information Act [FOIA] requests that began last year, he [Overton] and his small team of researchers pooled 14 years’ worth of Pentagon contract information related to rifles, pistols, machine guns and their associated attachments and ammunition, both for American troops and for their partners and proxies. They then crosschecked the data against other public records.

The outlet also states:

Today the Pentagon has only a partial idea of how many weapons it issued, much less where these weapons are. Meanwhile, the effectively bottomless abundance of black-market weapons from American sources is one reason Iraq will not recover from its post-invasion woes anytime soon.

The charity’s research covered U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) data from September 11, 2001, thru September 10, 2015.

AOAV found that of an estimated 1.45 million guns the U.S. government gave to Iraq and Afghanistan over that period, the Pentagon could only account for 700,000 (48 percent).

The 1.45 million small arms included more than 978,000 assault rifles, 266,000 pistols, and almost 112,000 machine guns.


AOAV reports:

This [700,000] only accounts for 48% of the total small arms supplied by the US government found in open source government reports.

Such shortfalls highlights [sic] the lack of accountability, transparency and joined up data that exists at the very heart of the US government’s weapon procurement and distribution systems. AOAV’s findings are backed up by previous reviews. For instance, a US Government Accountability Office [GAO] report from 2007 found the US government had issued at least 185,000 AK47s procured for Iraq between 2004 and 2005 alone. Another 5,000 AK47s were recorded as being sent to Iraq in a US Overseas Contingency Operation (OCO) request report in 2015. And yet, the DoD only claims 22,249 rifles of 7.62mm calibre were sent to Iraq. As the DoD pointed out, their data does not include weapons that were provided by the Department of Defense to the security forces in Iraq and Afghanistan without using the Foreign Military Sales system.

A 2014 Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction report also found, that in Afghanistan, 43% (or 203,888) of US funded small arms had duplicate or incomplete records.

NYT received an email from Mark Wright, a Pentagon spokesman, trying to explain the estimated 750,000 gap between the DoD’s count of 700,000 and the researcher’s tally of 1.45 million.

Wright wrote, “Speed was essential in getting those nations’ security forces armed, equipped and trained to meet these extreme challenges. As a result, lapses in accountability of some of the weapons transferred occurred.”

The spokesman noted that the Pentagon has improved its oversight and that to ensure “that equipment is only used for authorized purposes,” its representatives “inventory each weapon as it arrives in country and record the distribution of the weapon to the foreign partner nation.”


NYT points out:

Overton’s analysis also does not account for many weapons issued by the American military to local forces by other means, including the reissue of captured weapons, which was a common and largely undocumented practice.

Adding to the suspicion that the number is even larger, Overton is certain that his tally missed shipments, because the data that the Defense Department made available was incomplete or laden with contradictions that were not readily reconciled.

Insanity reigns supreme in arms manufacturing! 'Just keep that inventory moving boys.'

Human Rights Watch: Pakistan Forcing Return of Afghan Refugees

There is a strong dose of irony in this report beginning with the surprising, to me at least, fact that more than a million Afghans thought that going to Pakistan would improve their lives. At the same time, Pakistanis are leaving Pakistan to look for better lives in Europe. 

Now, Pakistanis, who make the worst refugees in Europe, just ask anyone in Rochdale, or Rotherham, or any of several other cities in the UK, find Afghans unacceptable. I wonder how many complaints there will be when the UK starts deporting Pakistani child rapists back to Pakistan?

By Ed Adamczyk  UPI

Afghan children play outside a religious school at Afghan Refugees Camp in Karachi on February 26, 2015. Human Rights Watch released a report Monday saying the United Nations was complicit in Pakistan's practice of forcing Afghan refugees to return to their country through coercion. File Photo by Zafar Ahmed Khan/News Lens Pakistan

Pakistan forced the repatriation of nearly 600,000 Afghan refugees through coercion and abuse since July, Human Rights Watch said Monday.

The New York-based humanitarian organization released a 76-page report Monday saying Pakistani authorities have forced hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees fleeing poverty, war and unemployment in Afghanistan to return to their homeland. It adds that the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees' office is complicit in Pakistan's efforts to remove the refugees by "failing to call for an end to the coercive practices."

The returnees to Afghanistan include 365,000 registered refugees. Pakistan has about 1.1 million Afghan refugees, about 750,000 of whom are unregistered, Human Rights Watch said.

"After decades of hosting Afghan refugees, Pakistan in mid-2016 unleashed the world's largest recent anti-refugee crackdowns to coerce their mass return," said Gerry Simpson, author of the report. "Because the U.N. refugee agency didn't stand up publicly to Pakistan's bullying and abuses, international donors should step in to press the government and U.N. to protect the remaining Afghan refugees in Pakistan."

Many returning Afghan refugees were persuaded to leave Pakistan by a doubling, to $400, of cash support from the United Nations, the report said, although the refugees typically had no home to which to return. Many reported they felt threatened by a wave of anti-Afghan hostility in Pakistan.

video 2:19

EU Uses Russia as ‘Tool’, Creates Hostile Situation – Former OSCE Assembly VP Willy Wimmer

War with Russia; Nato; European security
Wimmer pretty much nails it; although, keep in mind
he is addressing an RT audience

Former Parliamentary State Secretary in Germany's Defense Ministry and Ex-Vice President of the OSCE's Parliamentary Assembly Willy Wimmer. © Mikhail Voskresenskiy / Sputnik

The EU tries to create a hostile situation against Russia and uses it as a “tool” in terms of the press and influencing the population, German ex-VP of the OSCE Assembly told RT, calling the situation “disastrous.”

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is the world's largest security-oriented intergovernmental organization. Its mandate includes issues such as arms control and the promotion of human rights, freedom of the press and fair elections. 

The OSCE is concerned with early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management, and post-conflict rehabilitation. Its 57 participating states are located in Europe, northern and central Asia and North America and cover much of the land area of the Northern Hemisphere. It was created during the Cold War era as an East–West forum.  Wikipedia

“I think we have a disastrous situation in the EU, and we face, since some years, the situation where they do their utmost to create a hostile situation against the Russian Federation...” Willy Wimmer, also former state secretary to Germany’s defense minister, told RT’s SophieCo.

“...And when it comes to the press and when it comes to influencing the population, they used, really, Moscow as a tool for their own purpose,” he continued, responding to a question about unfounded allegations that Russia interfered with German politics in a bid to influence the federal vote.

“I think it’s so interesting that even the German Security Service – Bundesnachrichtendienst [BND] – just told the public that there’s no influence by the Russian Federation, which looks like a campaign of disinformation. So, I think now they face, in Berlin or in Brussels, an interesting situation. Again, they have to deal with their own problems and not to use Moscow as an excuse.”

The former OSCE Parliamentary Assembly vice president went on to state that Western Europe has feared two things for decades.

“The first is to start a war and have a European battlefield and the second fear is to face something like a US-Russian condominium on Europe,” he said referring to a statement by Germany's Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, in which he said the US and Russia should find common ground – but not at the expense of Europe.

When it comes to European sanctions against Russia, Wimmer said they are in place “because of the coup d’etat in Kiev, which has been organized by the West.”

George Soros' NGOs in Ukraine were involve in the Euromaiden uprising that caused the elected, pro-Russian head of government to flee for his life. Soros' NGOs were created specifically to help former USSR countries with their conversion from communism. Now that communism is gone from that part of the world, Soros' NGOs appear to be fighting Russia and any kind of conservatism. 

“Why do we have sanctions against the Russian Federation? There's no reason,” Wimmer said, adding that such sanctions hurt the EU’s own interests and noting that the bloc will likely follow suit if President Donald Trump removes US sanctions against Russia.

When it comes to NATO, Wimmer accused the alliance of being “outdated.”

As I have been saying for years, this is an organization looking for a reason to exist; if it can't find one; it will create one. That appears to be what it is doing in eastern Europe by making Russia into a bogeyman. It is what appears to have happened in 1992, after the fall of communism, when talk of NATO becoming obsolete first began.

Is it not 'passing strange' that NATO is suddenly reacting to the annexation of the Crimea, 2 and a half years after it happened? Is it a coincidence that their reaction began after candidate Trump started talking about NATO being obsolete?

NATO's purpose is, ostensibly, to prevent war, but there has to be a threat of war for it to prevent. The problem with creating a threat of war is that it often escalates into real war. Do we really want a war with Russia? Are we nuts? Is Europe being made 'more secure' by the hostile actions now occurring on its Russian borders? I would argue that it is less secure now than at anytime in the cold war since Czechoslovakia.

“NATO is outdated, not only because of the remarks of President Trump that NATO is obsolete. NATO is outdated because the European Parliament, the European population never in history voted for NATO as an aggressive alliance. NATO was a defensive alliance and should be restricted on German territory as such. What we see in these days is NATO at the Russian-Western border. This was never in our interest and is never backed by international rules and regulations...” he said.

Wimmer added that if Trump were to start a debate on the alliance’s role and legal structure, such a discussion would be “in favor of the European population.”

Meanwhile, Wimmer stated that although Merkel criticized Trump’s travel ban for citizens of seven mainly Muslim countries, secure borders are also in the interest of Germany and Europe as a whole.

“We are interested in having secure borders, no wars on the other side of the border and no refugees coming by hundreds of thousands to our countries. We should help them live in their own countries and not destroy them, and not destroy the future of these people,” Wimmer said.

He went on to accuse Merkel of opening Germany's borders and “not acting on the basis of our law.”

“We live in a situation where we never lived in before – the German government has to be based on our own laws. When we allow the federal chancellor to do her own business, we are facing a critical situation and when it comes to hundreds of thousands of people of whom we don’t know that they are in the country, of whom we don’t know about their names, their background – I think we never saw, in modern European history, a country being organized like this,” he said.

Wimmer said that when it comes to terrorism situations in various Western countries, we must “blame our own governments for not obeying our own laws” and therefore causing such security problems.

Merkel will stand for re-election in the federal election in September. Whether or not she succeeds in beating out top contender Social Democrat Martin Schulz will, according to Wimmer, depend on other German election outcomes, as well as elections in other Western European countries.

“...All these results will have a major effect on the inner German situation, because in the very moment we all have the feeling, when it comes to Europe, we live on a hand grenade. It can explode every second and this will have a major influence on the German elections in September,” he said.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

FDA Approves Old Drug with New Price – More Than 7,000% Higher!

There needs to be an investigation into this.
Are pharmaceutical companies running the FDA now?
Or is the FDA just that stupid?

© Jerry Lampen / Reuters

A recently FDA-approved drug used in steroid treatments, which has been on the international market for years, will be introduced in the US at the inflated price of $89,000 a year.

In a Thursday press release, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted approval for a drug by Marathon Pharmaceuticals, a US company focused solely on the development of new treatments for rare diseases. They may now begin selling the corticosteroid drug Deflazacort, under the brand name Emflaza.

How is this possible?

With FDA approval, Marathon now has exclusive rights to sell the drug in the US for the next seven years, even though it has been available as a generic in other countries.

With exclusive rights, the company can increase the price from the $1,200 average that families were importing the drug from overseas to $89,000, an increase of more than 7,000 percent.

Deflazacort is used to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a rare genetic disease that causes heart and respiratory conditions, usually in younger men. As the disease progresses, patients lose muscle strength, and usually end up confined to a wheelchair by the time they reach their early teens.

Patients with DMD typically do not live past their 20s or 30s, according to the FDA.

“This is the first treatment approved for a wide range of patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy,” Billy Dunn, director of the Division of Neurology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in the press release. “We hope that this treatment option will benefit many patients with DMD.”

Since so few Americans are affected by the disease, only around 15,000, the drug was approved under an “orphan drug” status, which is a special status given to drugs that treat rare diseases or conditions.

Although the price has increased, Babar Ghias, Marathon’s Chief Financial Officer, says that drug is still in the bottom 10 percentile of rare disease drug prices.

Ghias also says that that after rebates and discounts, the price will drop to $54,000, and with insurance and financial programs most patients will pay “zero to low out-of-pocket expense,” according to the Washington Post.

In a press release, Marathon mentioned significant investments the company made in research and development to bring the drug through the approval process.

The company claims to have conducted 17 new preclinical and clinical studies, however, under their research, they cite a 196-person, 52-week study trial that was completed in 1995. The study cites Marathon's contribution as funding for editorial assistance. 

Is that flat-out lying? Does the FDA have proof of the studies? Can Marathon provide proof? Clinical and preclinical studies should all be available to the public.

Free enterprise without a conscience is blatant greed!

Critics say that Marathon is simply taking an old drug for a rare disease, and increasing the price for their own gain. It is a practice that has prompted congressional investigations for other companies in the past, most notably, Turing Pharmaceuticals, the firm formerly run by one time hedge-fund manager Martin Shkreli, who took a drug used to treat AIDS patients, and increased 5,000 percent from $13.50 a pill to $750.

“It seems like it’s yet another example of gaming the system,” Aaron Kesselheim, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, told the Post.

“Instead of making the price at a level that is reasonable for patients, they make it a very high price and offer this pathway that patients may not qualify for, they may not know about, there may be limitations on it. So it's a marketing move and not really a public health solution,” he said.

Of course, that's what pharmaceutical companies are all about anymore, marketing, without the least bit of conscience for the people who suffer with and die from the lack of medication they can no longer afford. Free enterprise without a conscience is blatant greed!